What lead you to become a Naturopath?
I always liked the outdoors and being in nature. Most of my time was spent either in the ocean surfing or going for walks in the bush. After that much exercise, I was always hungry and even from a young age I was interested in eating nutritious food that was going to support my body. I started to look more into the properties of food and how that can affect you This curiosity progressed into plants and their health benefits and it went from there. When I started questioning myself as to what my vocation was, it kept coming back to me that I wanted to learn more about what natural health involved and share it with others.
What is involved in becoming a qualified Naturopath?
In NZ to become a qualified naturopath you need to study for 3 years. When I studied, it was the 2nd year of the colleges offering a degree. I came out of it with a degree in Health Science and Advanced Diplomas in Naturopathy and Herbal Medicine, but now they have combined this to offer a Degree in Natural Medicine.
Is there an organisation regulating naturopaths?
Yes there are 2 organisations in NZ that regulate naturopath and medical Herbalists, NMHNZ and NZAMH. To maintain your membership, you need to do a certain amount of continued professional education, whether it be professional webinars, seminars, courses or tutoring, as well as holding a current first aid certificate.
Why would someone see a naturopath?
That’s a good question, and there are many answers. The classics are bloating, irregular bowel habits, low energy, anxiety, stress, hormonal issues and fertility. People can also come in because they want a health check and make sure they are taking the right supplements for them. A lot of people look online for health information and advice, but it is not necessarily specific or right for them, so seeking out a trained professional can give them an individualised health plan with a targeted approach. And then there are people that have chronic conditions and want natural health support alongside their prescription medication.
What misconceptions about a naturopath are there?
A lot of people don’t realise the amount of training and education it takes to become a naturopath. And that is just the start. There is new research coming out daily on health conditions, diet, herbs and nutraceuticals, so skilled naturopaths need to keep themselves up to date on this research.
What to expect during a visit to a naturopath
A visit to a naturopath involves an in-depth consultation, where all aspects of one’s health is explored to try and identify the cause. You will typically spend an hour answering questions about your present and previous health, lifestyle, diet and health goals, on which a treatment plan will then be based.